Schools serving Los Gatos and Monte Sereno students: how do they compare?

Newcomers to the Los Gatos and Monte Sereno areas often have trouble sorting out the local school districts, and whether or not one area has better performing students than another.  (In many areas, the school district is firmly tied to the city or zip code. Not here!) My advice is to visit the schools in person, talk with people there if possible, and do a lot of research since school scores do not tell the entire story. That said, they do tell part of it – and they are a simple way to compare side by side.

Today I took a few minutes to compile a list of the public schools which serve the residents of Monte Sereno and Los Gatos (town, not the county areas in the mountains – the Los Gatos Mountain schools score very very well overall) and to note their API Scores for 2013, the most recent year for which we have data.   As you can see below, the scores for the elementary and middle schools are really excellent across the board and in all districts, and in many cases the elementary schools in the LG Union School District are not as high as those outside of it.    The real difference shakes out at the high school level.   (It should be noted, too, that Saratoga High has a score of 938 and residents within the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District can apply to go there, or at least have been able to do so in the past.)  *Please click on the image below to see a larger version of it.

 

Schools serving Los Gatos and Monte Sereno

 

Home values are influenced by many factors, one of them often being school scores.  Twenty years ago, many Los Gatos residents felt that they had to be “in the schools” to give their children a quality education.  Many do still prefer the Los Gatos Union School District, but it’s not as uniformly thought before since the scores in the Union School District have been rising quite a lot in recent years.  The part of San Jose (Cambrian) which falls within the Union School District is extremely popular now due to the more affordable price tag with really great schools.   Many of them are expecting the scores at Leigh High School to rise in time since all of the “feeder schools” are scoring in the 900s.

 

 

 

Saratoga California home prices by high school district: what should a home buyer expect to pay?

Saratoga, California is well loved due to its scenic setting, nestled into the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains, as well as for great schools, shops, dining and overall fabulous quality of life. This little city on Silicon Valley’s west side has attracted some of the best and brightest folks drawn to our high tech area.  Because of the high desirability of Saratoga homes and neighborhoods, Saratoga CA real estate prices are sky high – even by local standards.

How bad is it?

Home pricing depends on all kinds of factors, such as proximity to Saratoga Village, whether or not the home is in walking distance to schools, views, lot size, home size, newness of construction and remodeling and many other elements, perhaps strongest of which is the schools.

For home buyers searching by zip code or city name, it’s very easy to get confused, especially if you’re coming from out of the area and do not realize that one city can utilize several different school districts!   Saratoga is served by three different high school districts and four elementary school districts: Los Gatos Saratoga Joint Union High School District or LGSUHSD (with Saratoga elementary and middle schools), Fremont Union High School District or FUHSD (with Cupertino elementary & middle schools), Campbell Union High School District or CUHSD (with Campbell & Moreland elementary and middle school districts).  Today we’ll view affordability by high school district.  As a fairly recent sampling, we will consider houses sold in Saratoga, California 95070 over the last 150 days, or appx 5 months.

How many houses have sold in each district over the last 5 months?  Have a look.

 

Saratoga CA Home Sales by High School District (Single Family Homes in last 150 days)

 

About 60% of the sold houses enjoy “Saratoga Schools”, meaning Saratoga High School, Redwood Middle School and any of the elementary schools part of this district.  Approximately 31% have Campbell or Moreland Schools, with either Westmont or Prospect High School.  A very tiny sliver, about 9%, is within the Cupertino Schools area (Lynbrook High School).

Comparing Saratoga CA residential real estate on a price per square foot basis

Often consumers want to compare based heavily on a price per square footage basis – something which I have cautioned against many times because it is seldom as accurate or helpful as one might think.  But because of the demand for this info, let’s have a look.

 

Saratoga California Average Price Per SF 11-23-2013 By HSD

 

If you are familiar with Saratoga, California, you will find the above graph puzzling if viewed by itself.  Saratoga High (933) and Lynbrook High (946) are exceptionally high scoring schools on the Academic Performance Index or API.  This is not so true with Westmont (795) or Prospect (775).  How, then, can they be priced so similarly on a per square footage basis? (more…)